When people work to change what happens for a whole group or community of people, it is called systems advocacy. Health systems advocacy aims to make positive changes to attitudes, policies, systems and laws in the health area. Its focus is on the rights and interests of health consumers.
Many of the groups that lobby for change have been created by people who have experienced issues and barriers within the health system. They have worked successfully to achieve change and improvements that make the system work better for anyone who uses it.
People working together around similar issues have a stronger voice which is more likely to be heard and leads to reforms that benefit many people.
People working together can:
- help the community and its leaders to understand health issues and needs
- assist people to have a say and put their views and interests forward
- influence decision-makers to develop legislation which provides consumer-centred, safe and quality health services
- generate changes to policy and procedures so consumers have better services
- help people to get more resources
- help consumers to exercise their healthcare rights
- help consumers to have choice and control over their treatment and services
- help consumers to get culturally appropriate services delivered in ways that respect their beliefs and values.